The Sound of Metal

Author | Anna Kander

love your brothers and sisters, momma said
carry us like a song in your heart

in high school, i whispered gossip to mean girls
and, on alternate Tuesdays, tried to not to drown

in labels
and expectations

and a labyrinth of dented lockers
that made hollow sounds

when bodies and metal collided
for the thousandth occasion

at the same high school
at the same time

my brother was molested

we didn’t learn what happened ’til years later
after he stopped coming home

on a field trip with an overnight bus ride
two rich boys—also brothers
pinned him in the corner of the high, stiff seat
used some sort of hard implement

one of them held a knife
it scraped the metal frame around the window

screeching metal around a black night
swallowing all those stars

anyway, that’s what I heard
third-hand, from our mother

or fourth- or fifth-hand, if i am counting
the rich brothers

in English, there are at least nineteen words
to describe the sounds of metal

clang, ding, clatter, clunk, clash
drum, echo, jangle, rattle, rasp

jingle, gong, plink, tinkle

wood blocks make dull thumps

strike metal and it sings
releasing sounds sharp like weapons
for avenging

the energy of struck metal dissipates slowly
scientists say that’s because metal is “elastic”
i’d say metal remembers

the oscillations of metal decay—yet linger
my brother went silent; the metal still screams

every autumn, as purple and gold leaves fall
from the copper beech and sugar maples

my brothers and sisters who can travel
return to our hometown

migrating back to the place of our birth, like salmon
until we are someone’s dinner

we will clink forks and knives on the good china
and enjoy a ritual meal

we had all our friends in common
and I’ll see them around town

when I run to the drugstore for shampoo and chocolates
pieces of home that I forgot to bring

tokens of appreciation that somehow slip my mind
every single goddamn year

your friends from high school will ask me about you again
and I’ll say no, he won’t be coming home

no, he won’t be here
for thanksgiving

About the Author | Anna Kander is a writer in the Midwest. Her work is published in Breadcrumbs, Leveler, Hollow Tongue, Ariel Chart, Train, and other journals. Find her at or

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